While the weather is warm, chances are you want to get outside with your family. One of the fun activities to do together outdoors (and tire the kiddos out) is hiking. You don't need to be a rugged mountain climber to take a nice light hike along some local nature paths, but to keep your family safe, you do need to prepare like one.

1. Check the Weather

Just because the sun is shining when you wake up doesn't mean it will be shining in two hours when you are halfway through your hike. Check the weather to make sure there's no sign of rain or, worse, thunder and lightning. Summer storms can come out of nowhere and you definitely want to avoid getting stuck in one.

2. Dress Appropriately

You need proper hiking gear, even if you're just going on nature walk. Everyone should wear good shoes like sneakers or hiking boots. Dress in layers to avoid getting overheated or even cold while you take a break from hiking for a snack. Pack rain gear just in case you do get caught in a shower.

3. Tell Someone

Tell a close friend, neighbor, or family member your when and where you plan to hike, and at what time you should be home. This way, if you don't return by a certain time, someone is aware and can track you down or send help if you need it.

4. Stay Hydrated

It's important to bring plenty of water with you, especially when you're hiking with kids. Becoming dehydrated can leave you lightheaded and even cause you to faint or become disoriented. Either pack some bottled water in a backpack or invest in a Camelbak for easy, hands free access to water. Pack snacks and lunch if you plan to be gone more than a couple of hours.

5. Bring a First Aid Kit

Your kids fall down just walking through your living room — imagine the injury they could get falling while on a hike. Pack a first aid kit in a backpack and include ice packs, bandages, Neosporin, and other items that will help in case you or your child gets a minor injury.

6. Don't Forget the Emergency Kit

You never know when an emergency will occur so it's good to be prepared. Bring along an emergency kit just in case. Include:

  • any medications you or your child is taking
  • extra water
  • emergency snacks or sandwiches
  • a red bandanna and loud whistle to get attention
  • a small flashlight
  • disposable foil space blanket
  • reflective tape
  • matches
  • fire starter or a lighter
  • small pocket knife
  • compass
  • two-way radio
  • a small role of toilet paper

You'll need even more bigger hikes, so check out this list.

When hiking it's better to be safe than sorry. Over prepare if you must, because in the event of an emergency or injury, you'll never wish you didn't pack or prepare properly. While you're out there, don't forget to have fun and teach your kids all about the nature around them.